Wendy’s has signed a deal with Google’s cloud division to leverage its AI and ML tools to improve the restaurant experience, and one such scenario involves using computer vision technology to alert cooks when it’s time to flip burgers. on the grill. Computer vision technology is not new to the industry and has actually been used in consumer devices for years. For example, Samsung’s expensive fridges branded Smart Hub already use the technology to analyze food in the fridge and alert users when it’s about to expire.
Amazon is also working on a refrigerator of its own that will keep an eye on food and notify users when it’s about to run out. It will also suggest recipes based on what’s available in the fridge and will serve as a convenient point to shop remotely from the company’s Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods services. In addition to home appliances, computer vision plays a key role in areas such as driverless cars and is even used in Amazon Go cashierless stores to detect the movement of items.
As part of its partnership with Google Cloud, Wendy’s will employ analytics, AI, ML and other cloud-based tools from the latter to modernize operations and make the food ordering experience easier for customers. Kevin Vasconi, CIO of Wendy’s, wants to take it a step further. In comments to The Wall Street Journal, Vasconi mentioned that one of the goals is to employ computer vision technology to create automated alert systems for employees working at Wendy’s stores. For example, the computer vision system can recognize the state of hamburgers placed on a grill and alert the cook when it’s time to flip them.
A computer vision system includes a camera linked to software with object recognition capabilities and the ability to perform a pre-programmed set of actions in certain scenarios. For example, it can be used to alert cooks when it’s time to put fries in the fryer, or warn them of a run when cameras detect a long line of people at the order windows. The scenarios are truly endless, but in the case of Wendy’s, a computer vision system will make life a lot easier for the kitchen and counter staff, who will no longer have to look at a screen to analyze what’s going on, and in then decide what needs to be done.
Vasconi is also not regulating autonomous drone deliveries in the future, which is not surprising given that drones are already in use for delivering medical supplies and vital aids. Following the partnership, Wendy’s will build mapping applications and voice recognition systems using Google’s AI tools. For example, the latter will be used to take customer orders over the phone or in drive-through windows, and then transcribe voice queries into text format to help improve order accuracy. The company is even planning to use voice recognition technology to identify customers so the restaurant can offer personalized service and anticipate orders based on what they had before.